March 8, 2009

Addition of Avastin® to Chemotherapy Improves Progression-free Survival in Advanced Breast Cancer


Addition of Avastin® to Chemotherapy Improves Progression-free Survival in Advanced Breast Cancer

The addition of Avastin® (bevacizumab) to the chemotherapy agent Taxotere® (docetaxel) improves progression-free survival in patients with advanced breast cancer. These results were recently published in a press release by Genentech.

Metastatic breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread to distant sites in the body. Chemotherapy is a cornerstone of therapy for metastatic breast cancer; however, novel therapeutic approaches are now providing more-targeted methods of treatment.

One such targeted therapy, Avastin, blocks a protein known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. Avastin is already approved for the treatment of some colorectal and lung cancers. Avastin, in combination with the chemotherapy agent Taxol® (paclitaxel), is currently being reviewed by the FDA for the treatment of breast cancer.

To further evaluate the combination of Avastin and chemotherapy, researchers conducted the AVADO trial, a Phase III trial (phase prior to FDA review), to evaluate the combination of Avastin and Taxotere in advanced breast cancer. This trial included 736 patients who had not received prior therapy and were human epidermal receptor-2 (HER-2) negative. Women were treated with either Avastin plus Taxotere or placebo (inactive substitute) plus Avastin. Data from this trial, including the following results, will be presented at an upcoming medical conference.

  • Patients treated with Avastin had a longer time to cancer progression than patients who did not receive Avastin.
  • There were no side effects associated with Avastin that were not expected.

These results indicate that, cancer compared with chemotherapy alone, the addition of Avastin to chemotherapy improves progression-free survival among women with advanced HER2-negative breast. Decisions regarding approval of Avastin for breast cancer are eagerly awaited.

Reference: AVADO Study of Avastin Plus Docetaxel Chemotherapy Showed Improved Progression-Free Survival in Patients with Advanced Breast Cancer. Genentech. Available at: Accessed February 2008.

Related News: Addition of Avastin® Doesn’t Improve Overall Survival in Metastatic Breast Cancer (1/3/2008)

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